Shells and rhinestones attached to bra base by me.
Lions Paw shells from Amazon. 5-5 1/2 inches. *Cost around $12 for both shells.
Bra base from Amazon. *I bought a Warners Woman’s Easy Does It Wire Free Bra (super comfy!) for around $15.
Shells, rhinestone, flatback pearls from Michaels.
This was my first mermaid top that I made while waiting for my MerNation silicone tail to be made.
It took a few days of continuous work to make. Then another day or two to fix after my first swim.
I attached the shells to the top with e6000 glue. Use in a well ventilated area as this glue is harmful when the fumes are inhaled. I had a mannequin that I put the bra on then glued the shells in place and set a ziplock bag filled with water on top to weigh it down and hold the shell in place while the glue dried. I did one shell at a time over 2 days.
Then I added flat back pearls and rhinestones on the shells and on the top. I used a few different tops I’d found on Pinterest as inspiration. The rhinestones were cheap plastic from Michael’s and the e6000 melted the backing off of them so I used GemTac to attach them to the bra. For pearls and shells I used e6000. The easiest way to attach the rhinestones is to put the glue into syringes and make dots of glue then either pick up the gems with a tweezers or a wax tip jewel setter.
I wore this top for a day-long photoshoot in the Flordia Springs. The shells are securely attached to the top but after swimming in the water for several hours the Gemtac on the rhinestones loosened and when I was taking off my top I noticed a lot of the rhinestones were loose and could be peeled off. They did not come off in the water and the ones I didn’t pull off dried securely on again. The jewels that were attached with e6000 stayed on and didn’t budge.
Afterwards, I gathered up the rhinestones that had come off and reassessed the top. I used e6000 to put more shells around the top and put some of the rhinestones back on.
Now this top is used ONLY for dry events. The rhinestones still sometimes fall off just due to the age of the top.
I choose a full coverage bra that I knew fit me. This top is very comfortable and fits very well. The shells are a bit heavy so that’s something to concider when choosing a bra base.
The Lions Paw shells do come a bit below the bottom edge of the bra and dig into my skin. I’ve been meaning to take my dremmel and sand down the edges so it is more comfortable.
The rhinestones do periodically fall off and require upkeep. I keep a sandwich size ziplock bag with me and put the fallen soldiers in it when I can and use e6000 to reattach as needed
Satisfaction of making your own top
Customized to exactly what you want
Time consuming to make
Real lion Paw shells are very heavy
Rhinestones fall off easily when applied with GemTac
E6000 works great to attach large shells to a bra.
E6000 needs to be used in a well ventilated area. Be careful not to breath in the fumes
Gemtac is only good for tops not worn in water. They start to become unglued after a few hours of being submerged in water.
E6000 can distort the foil backing on cheap rhinestones.
I responded to an announcement on Merbella’s Facebook page that she was accepting a few top commissions. I asked if she could make an embellished Ariel shell silicone top to match my Mertailor Spellbound tail. I received an email back saying she could with quote with the price.
I paid the invoice and gave some suggestions about what I wanted and a photo of the tail. Then waited. It took less than 3 months for Merbella to make and ship my new top.
I received and email with a final finished photo. Then received an address confirmation email. Merbella’s studio is located about 30 minutes I offered to come pick it up but they sent a tracking number right away. However, it took a few days for USPS to pick it up & scan it. It took a full week for the top to be delivered. I wish I could have just picked it up instead of waiting & stalking my post man every day for a week until it arrived. * I’ve learned that Merbella rarely (if ever) allows pick up but meeting locally for delivery is possible.
The Ariel Shells are constructed with a very thick silicone. They are attached to a nude bra that is very soft and comfortable. It has black fishnet halter straps that have been cut to look tattered. The fishnet is a high quality and thick netting.
The paint is well done. I sort of would have liked to see a little more detailing around the contouring of the silver parts of the shells. I’m also a bit afraid of how the paint will hold up with wear. It looks like it could easily peal or be scratched. (NOTE: After 8 months of owning it and a few photoshoots later, the paint has held up beautifully! And now I love the paint job. It’s like the longer I have it the more I realize how perfect it is for me.)
It has several gorgeous embellishments. In the center is a silver star and there is a large pink tear drop crystal and several pearls and rhinestones. All well sewn onto the bra base. It also has plastic seaweed sewn along the bottom of front of the top.
One of my favorite parts are the silver scales that go along the sides of the top. These small details bring the top together as a true piece of art.
I have wore this only a handful of times for photoshoots both on land and in the water. These photoshoots lasted several hours and the top has held up very well.
The bra base is very soft and comfortable. The top has Seaweed embellishments on the bottom of the cup that initially were very painful and dug into my skin. I had to twist and move them around so they would lay outwards instead of inwards. Now it fits much better. I’ve also since lost some weight and the top fits A LOT better.
It fits just like a normal push-up bra. I am a 36B and this give fair/medium coverage with some cleavage.
Gorgeous paint job. Looks like mermaid armor.
A lot of beautiful details in the workmanship
Unique one of a kind top
I feel it’s a bit overpriced and it has a lot less detail then some of her other tops.
I’m worried about possible ruining it or it loosing some of the rhinestones. (This has not happened at all.)
Initially, it doesn’t fit me as well as I’d like but after I lost some weight it fits perfectly.
I wish I would have specifically asked for more silicone embellishments and no seaweed.
I LOVE Merbella tops!
I have very sensitive skin especially to plastic seaweed that comes into contact with my skin.
For those of you who follow my blog for the aerial equipment info…I’m taking a bit of a side track and highjacking my blog for my Mermaid fans. I’ve developed a bit of a Mermaid Top collection (it’s really an obsession, at this point). I have tops from several big Mermaid brands (& some from lesser known designers). They range quite a bit in price and quality. In my reviews I’ll give insight into some of things I wish I knew before I purchased them.